Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat

by Tim Heaney on June 24, 2009 @ 01:00:01 PDT

 


Also see: Fantasy baseball closer depth charts

In fantasy baseball, the closer position remains volatile. Rarely does every closer hang on to the job for the entire season - injuries, poor performance and managerial decisions can cloud a team's bullpen picture.

Should you be concerned about a struggling stopper? Which setup men are climbing the depth chart? Any lingering injuries popping up? KFFL.com's Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat series keeps you informed when you're looking for saves.

Job Security (JS) score Health (H) score
1 (unstable) to 5 (untouchable) 1 (injury-prone) to 5 (durable)

Cleveland Indians

Closer: Kerry Wood

Next in line: Jensen Lewis

Other possibilities: Rafael Perez, Matt Herges

Disabled list: Rafael Betancourt

Is something wrong with the typically injury-prone Wood? He was touched up Tuesday for the third straight outing despite recording the save.

In truth, Herges created most of the mess; he came into a 5-0 game, promptly coughing up two runs and leaving a runner on when Wood had to come in. The closer gave up two more runs to make things worse before escaping a bases loaded jam on a scary flyball. 

His Wrigley Field fiascos were unnerving, but Wood's 29-pitch (14 strikes) disaster save last night can't do much good for him. In his last three outings, only 31 of his 66 pitches (47.0 percent) were strikes. With his contract, he'll probably still receive every chance to work things out, but Jensen Lewis is looking a bit more attractive as a necessary handcuff.

Job security score: 5

Health score: 3

Florida Marlins

Closer: Matt Lindstrom

Next in line: Leo Nunez

Other possibilities: Dan Meyer

Disabled list: Kiko Calero, Scott Proctor

Teetering for some time, Lindstrom pushed things too far and snapped. During his Tuesday save chance, he repeated his Sunday performance to start the inning (two straight outs), but he also repeated the meltdown - and took it a step further.

Lindstrom allowed four straight singles Tuesday while being held responsible for three runs on four hits. It wasn't a blown save because he didn't allow the runs to score himself, but for all intents and purposes, that's the way fantasy owners look at it.

Manager Fredi Gonzalez said he's sticking with Lindstrom at closer, but the true question remains: How is the righty blackmailing him into having a long leash?

Lindstrom's main competition had been used to calm things down in the previous inning. Nunez (ankle) entered in the eighth but left the game with an ankle malady after giving up a homer and a single to start things off. Expect him to be re-evaluated today.

Job security score: 4

Health score: 4

Mound meetings

  • The Philadelphia Phillies have said closer Brad Lidge (knee) could return from the DL today after a successful rehab outing Tuesday. Keep posted to Hot off the Wire for the official transaction and make the necessary adjustments to bring him back into your lineup. Hang on to Ryan Madson, though.
  • Kevin Gregg's 4.18 ERA hides the improvements he has made in June (3.27 ERA, eight K's and two walks in 11 frames), but last night's blown save for the Chicago Cubs in which he surrendered a walkoff two-run homer will probably cloud them even more. Gregg's two June blown saves (bookends for the month as of today) have been his first two blown chances since April 10. Manager Lou Piniella hasn't hinted he'll be making a change.
  • On Tuesday, the Toronto Blue Jays' Jason Frasor notched his first save since Scott Downs (toe) hit the DL. He tossed a scoreless inning, and Jeremy Accardo (groin) and B.J. Ryan both went unused. Accardo is day-to-day with a mild groin strain.
  • Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim P Kelvim Escobar (shoulder) will probably be shut down indefinitely due to more pains in his right shoulder. His chances of coming back this season are in jeopardy, meaning save speculators may be longing for a new Angels target soon. Justin Speier, maybe?

Also see: Fantasy baseball closer depth charts

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About Tim Heaney

Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum, who competes in LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.

During baseball and football season, he appears on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio on Thursdays and Sundays, and every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.


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